It was a short day to get us to our destination, but not uneventful. With less distance to cover, we allowed ourselves some of our usual stop-and-go-or-even-turn-around-and-go-back travel. In one town, while obeying a stop sign before a turn, we noticed a small garden center with a wagon displaying a collection of some blooming shrub in 2 gallon containers that we didn’t recognize. So you know we stopped to see what it was.
The plants had no tags, but the proprietor came out to see if I would buy any and told me they were called the Pride of Barbados, and were the floral symbol of that island nation, but he had no idea what the botanical name for the plant was. So after assuring him that I could not grow them where I lived – he understood when I told him I could raise neither tomatoes nor okra due to lack of sun and heat at night, he told me of a property a couple of blocks away that had mature specimens of this plant in their landscape.
This is that plant that caused us to stop.
It is actually is a member of the pea family (like the acacia as well as our beastly broom) that COULD be grown in our climate as a perennial instead of an evergreen shrub. Botanically it is Caesalpinia pulcherrima, and has many common names such as peacock flower, Mexican Bird-of-Paradise and Dwarf Poinciana. There are nasty thorns on the stems, branches and petioles, which may be why it is also called Barbados Flowerfence.
We are NOT bringing one home.
I took this next picture because this plant is showing up in both untended roadsides as well as fine landscapes here.
Actually, they will winter over in the PNW if they can be given very good drainage. There are several collectors who belong to the Washington Native Plant Society from the drier Wenatchee area who grow many species of Opuntia.
We arrived in Houston in late afternoon and are now hard at the process of preparing for the Celebration. It has not been all work and no play, though. I will fill you in on it as I have time.